Drumstick Aamti

When you stay abroad, it’s always great to see fresh vegetables in the Indian grocery store. I generally pick up drumsticks to make Sambhar which is a South Indian dish. The inner pulp and seeds of drumsticks are extremely delicious and impart great flavour to sambhar. In India, we had Maharashtrian neighbours who made Drumstick Aamti. This dal like dish has a pronounced coconut taste balanced by spices and tamarind. I decided to make the dish with store-bought coconut milk but the best way to make it would be to extract fresh coconut milk. The ground spices lend the required kick and is one of the simplest dishes that goes with rice. When served hot, this dish is finger lickingly awesome!

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 2 drumsticks, deskinned and cut along the length into small sized pieces
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk (go for the thicker variety, if store bought)
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 6-8 black peppercorns
  • 1 lemon sized piece of tamarind
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Drumstick aamti

Drumstick Aamti


Method:

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water and set it aside for 10 mins. Extract the tamarind juice and throw away the seeds.
  • Grind coconut, black peppercorns, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. No water is required for grinding at this stage.
  • Take the drumstick pieces and apply the ground masala ingredients on them.
  • Take oil in a pan and heat it on low flame. Once it heats a bit, add the chopped onion and cook it till translucent.
  • Now add the marinated drumsticks into it along with a bit of water and salt such that the drumstick pieces are just soaked. Cover the pan with a lid for the drumsticks to cook through.
  • When the drumsticks are partially cooked, add in the tamarind juice that was prepared earlier and let it cook till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.
  • Now add in the coconut milk and let it simmer on low flame. Stir it well so that the spices mix into the liquid. Check the red chilli powder balance and add more if you like a spicy broth.
  • Switch off the flame in 3 mins as its not required to boil the coconut milk base too much.
  • This dish tastes awesome with rice served along with papad and pickle.

Tips:

  • You can modify the balance of flavours to your liking. Change the proportion of tamarind, coconut milk, and chilli to get the taste you like.
  • Don’t boil the dish once you add the coconut milk – simmer on a low flame.
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Beetroot and Paneer Curry

As I explore cooking, I have come to realize the versatility of beetroot in curry and dessert preparations. Apart from the immense health benefits, it cooks quickly and can be used either grated or diced – which adds a lot of texture to dishes. Paneer acts as a good ingredient in gravy dishes as it soaks in the flavours of the curry beautifully. This also adds variety to the standard lunchbox recipes as it is an unusual combination which has a great balance of taste and texture. For vegans, you can substitute tofu instead of paneer and it tastes equally good.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3-4 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 2 beetroots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 250 gms paneer, cubed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala /Kitchen King powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp oil

Beetroot and Paneer Curry

Beetroot and Paneer Curry


Method:

  • Take a pressure cooker and add oil in it. Add the beetroot cubes, onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt in it. Add 1.5 cups of water and close the lid. On a low flame, let the cooker steam out 3 whistles. Then switch off the flame. After this, wait for the pressure of the cooker to release naturally.
  • Open the lid and add in the coconut milk, paneer, coriander powder and garam masala powder and bring the curry to a boil on medium flame. Stir the gravy so that the added spices coat the paneer and beetroot nicely. If the gravy seems thick, add a little water as per your judgement.
  • This curry is absolutely delicious and goes great with rice and rotis.

Tips:

  • Don’t add too much water. If you want a thinner gravy, use a combination of coconut milk and water.
  • For a deeper taste, cook on a very low flame once you add the paneer and spices and let it rest for some time before eating.

Beetroot and Peas Curry in Coconut milk

Mixed vegetable curries involve quite a bit of prep work depending on the number of vegetables being used in the dish. I wanted a curry with a simple vegetable pairing that would give both volume and texture to the dish and also be quick to make. I spotted some lovely beetroot and decided to toss in some peas and make a delicious dish to be served with rice. Apart from the ease in cooking, beets are a rich source of nutrients and are also known for their anti-carcinogenic properties. Since I was serving it with rice, I needed it to have nice broth for which coconut milk was just the right ingredient. The dish turned out to be a perfect combination of veggies, broth and taste.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 2-3 pax
Time: 30 mins
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients :

  • 2 medium beetroots, chopped in cubes
  • 3/4 cup green peas (boiled or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves and curry leaves for garnish (optional)

Beetroot and Peas curry in Coconut milk

Beetroot and Peas curry in Coconut milk


Method:

  • Take oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they splutter, add the ginger garlic paste and stir for 30 secs on a low flame.
  • Add the chopped beets at this stage. Sauté them with some salt and turmeric powder, then cover the pan with a lid and cook them for around 8 mins. Sprinkle a bit of water on the beets to enable faster cooking.
  • Add peas and cook the vegetables till they are tender.
  • Add all the chili and coconut milk and simmer on a low flame till you get the desired consistency.
  • Garish with coriander leaves and curry leaves and serve with rice.

Tips :

  • Cook on a low flame and do not allow the vegetables to overcook.

Sol Kadhi / Kokum Curry

Kokum is a dark red coloured fruit with a sweet and sour taste. The dried outer cover of the fruit serves as the main ingredient for this drink which is a perfect cooler for warm summer days. It is also good for digestion and is commonly found in the Goan, Konkani and Malvani thalis as a side dish.

Recipe for Sol Kadhi/Kokum Curry


Serves :4
Ingredients :

  • 10-12 kokum pieces dissolved in around 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Sol Kadhi

Sol Kadhi


Method:

  • Soak the kokum in 1/2 cup of hot water for 30 minutes
  • Crush and squeeze the kokum through a strainer to make kokum extract
  • Add 2 cups of water and salt to this kokum extract. Mix well and taste
  • Now add coconut milk. Do this in batches. Ideally, you want to balance the sour taste of the kokum with the sweetness of the coconut milk.
  • Now for the tempering, heat oil in a small tempering pan
  • Add the mustard seeds in the oil and let them splutter followed by the cumin seeds
  • Next add the garlic, asafoetida, red chillies, curry leaves and fry
  • Pour this tempering immediately into the kokum and coconut milk mixture
  • Serve straight away or serve cold. I would recommend for refrigerating it for around one hour.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves before serving

Tips :

  • Any leftover sol kadhi should be kept in the fridge because there are chances of coconut milk spoling in hot weather
  • Refrigerating sol kadhi may cause the fat in the coconut milk to congeal. If this happens, warm it while stirring occasionally and the the fat will dissolve
  • You can use either home made or the ready made coconut milk. I used the latter for this preparation.
  • For those staying in Singapore, kokum is available in Mustafa.
  • Sol kadhi will pair well with this dish made with Black eyed beans